KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Speaks To Health, Development Experts About Candidates For Global Fund Executive Director

Devex: Health, development leaders weigh in on Global Fund shortlist
“Early next week the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s board of directors will select a new executive director. … Devex spoke to several well-placed global health and development leaders about their impressions of the finalists. All of them spoke on the condition that their comments not be attributed by name…” (Igoe, 2/24).

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WHO Director General Candidates Talk To Devex About Potential Gender Parity Policy Proposals

Devex: Is gender parity a task for the next WHO chief?
“The three remaining candidates vying for leadership of the World Health Organization have all expressed interest in achieving gender parity at the U.N. aid agency, but the question remains: How can they reach that goal when men dominate in most regional offices, in higher positions, and in the applicant pool? Devex asked the prospective director generals what concrete policies they would implement to improve the gender balance and how important they consider the issue…” (Ravelo, 2/24).

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Dutch Minister Expresses Hope U.K. Will Join Initiative Aiming To Fill Funding Gap Left By Mexico City Policy Reinstatement

The Guardian: Dutch minister calls on U.K. to join safe abortion fund after Trump ban
“The Dutch government has voiced hope that the U.K. will join 20 countries to set up a safe abortion fund to fill the gap left by Donald Trump’s ‘global gag rule.’ Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch international development minister, is leading an international campaign to raise $600m (£480m) to compensate for the Trump administration’s ban on funding for [foreign] NGOs that provide abortion or information on the procedure to women in developing countries. Belgium, Denmark, and Norway have joined the Netherlands in pledging $10m each, while at least 15 other countries are preparing to join the scheme, including Canada, Cape Verde, Estonia, Finland, and Luxembourg. The British government has yet to declare whether it will sign up to the initiative…” (Rankin, 2/24).

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Depression Leading Cause Of Disability Worldwide, WHO Report Says

Reuters: Depression top cause of disability, strikes young and old: WHO
“More than four percent of the world’s population lives with depression, and women, youth, and the elderly are the most prone to its disabling effects, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday…” (Nebehay, 2/23).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency reports depression now ‘leading cause of disability worldwide’
“Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, the United Nations health agency [Thursday] reported, estimating that it affects more than 300 million people worldwide … [The report] shows an 18 percent increase in the number of people living with depression between 2005 and 2015…” (2/23).

VOA News: WHO: Depression Largest Cause of Disability Worldwide
“…Corresponding data released in the same report found that anxiety disorders, which cover a range of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, affected more than 260 million people, which represented more than three percent of the global population…” (Schlein, 2/23).

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Economist Jeffrey Sachs Discusses Sustainable Development Goals, New Book In Project Syndicate Interview

Project Syndicate: PS On Air with Jeffrey Sachs
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, discusses his new book, Building the New American Economy, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals, with Christopher Granville, managing director of TS Lombard; Katharina Slodczyk, U.K. correspondent with Handelsblatt; and Carlos de Vega, a journalist with El País (2/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

'Global Health Community Must Work Together' To Achieve Goals Of Global Vaccine Action Plan

The Lancet: Reaching everyone, everywhere with life-saving vaccines
Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO; Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF; and Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…The global health community must work together to advance progress [on expanding access to immunizations]. Although governments are the main providers of immunization, the [Global Vaccine Action Plan‘s (GVAP)] success depends upon many stakeholders — families, communities, health professionals, civil society, development partners, global agencies, manufacturers, media, and the private sector. It is essential that governments show strong leadership and good governance of national immunization programs, which involves prioritizing system strengthening, securing investments, and improving surveillance capacity and data quality and use. Organizations that deliver immunization programs, research and development partners, as well as global agencies can help improve GVAP accountability, work to overcome barriers to the timely delivery of vaccines in humanitarian crisis, and support vaccine research and development in low-income and middle-income countries. Delivering on the goals and the promise of the GVAP is an urgent and essential priority. It will improve the health and wellbeing of people everywhere and help us achieve the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], and ultimately a world in which no one — no child, no adolescent, no adult — is left behind. In 2017, we challenge countries and our own organizations to do more” (2/25).

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Ignoring Evidence-Based Science Could Undermine U.S. Ability To Support Global Development, Waste Resources

NEJM: The Perils of Trumping Science in Global Health — The Mexico City Policy and Beyond
Nathan C. Lo, student in the Division of Epidemiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine; and Michele Barry, senior associate dean of global health and director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University

“…The reinstatement of the Mexico City policy is a stark example of ‘evidence-free’ policymaking that ignores the best scientific data, resulting in a policy that harms global health and, ultimately, the American people. … In addition to increasing abortion rates, the reinstatement of the Mexico City policy is likely to result in increases in maternal deaths and will endanger children’s health around the world. By restricting access to modern contraception, the policy will lead to preventable deaths from pregnancy-related complications, increased reliance on unsafe abortions, and higher rates of unsafe sex … [C]reating policies that are not based on rigorous scientific evidence can have substantial costs — a particular concern when there is a limited budget with which to achieve effective global development. The decision to ignore data when crafting foreign aid strategies can jeopardize the mission of U.S. foreign policy to help ensure economic and geopolitical security. The Mexico City policy is but one of many foreign aid decisions that the Trump administration will have to make to guide our country and the world. Ineffective foreign aid policies that ignore basic scientific analysis will undermine our ability to support global development, waste valuable resources, and ultimately hurt the American people” (2/22).

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U.S. Must Continue Bipartisan Support For PEPFAR, Global Fund To Achieve AIDS-Free Generation

Vox: I’m witnessing the near defeat of AIDS in Africa. But I fear what comes next.
Elizabeth Radin, lecturer in epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and a technical specialist at ICAP

“…Ending the [AIDS] epidemic will require us to reach people who have not yet benefited from lifesaving prevention and treatment. That will mean President Donald Trump will need to reinforce the U.S. commitment to its AIDS relief program, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). … Continuity and bipartisanship have been critical to PEPFAR’s success. … Around the same time that PEPFAR started, more than 50 donor countries (including the U.S.) began pooling funds through the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. … If we build on the progress we have made and focus on reaching the people who are not yet diagnosed and treated, AIDS will be to our children what smallpox and polio are to us. But this good news also throws down a gauntlet. We cannot become fatigued and lose interest. The U.S. must stay committed to PEPFAR and the international collaboration through the Global Fund. We must build on what has been accomplished, otherwise we risk seeing the epidemic roar back. It’s our fight to win, but it’s also ours to lose — an AIDS-free generation hangs in the balance” (2/23).

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World Leaders 'Should Listen' To Bill Gates's Warnings About Pandemics, Suggestions For Disease Outbreak Preparedness

Washington Post: When nature is a terrorist
Editorial Board

“Bill Gates … gave a speech the other day at the Munich Security Conference that should have caught everyone’s attention. Mr. Gates insisted that world leaders think differently about public health and national security. They should listen. … [Since the anthrax attacks of 2001,] the villain that appeared to cause death and illness was not a bioterrorist, but Mother Nature, in a series of naturally occurring outbreaks: severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS; swine flu; and Ebola, among others. Each could not be stopped by existing therapeutics or vaccines, raising the question: How can nations and societies defend against such fast-moving waves of peril? … Mr. Gates insists that the pandemic threat be taken as urgently and seriously as major national security issues. … [R]ecent advances in genomics offer the prospect of vaccines that could be created on the fly. This has long been a dream of biomedicine, and Mr. Gates is right that it will need a lot more support and research to become reality. He also called for devoting more time and resources to surveillance so that disease outbreaks can be spotted sooner. Finally, he suggested preparing for epidemics ‘the way the military prepares for war,’ with exercises and training. … [Gates said,] ‘We may not know if that weapon is man-made or a product of nature. But one thing we can be almost certain of. A highly lethal global pandemic will occur in our lifetimes'” (2/23).

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'Women's Participation In Power' Essential For Effective Control, Treatment Of Women's Cancers

The Lancet: Women, power, and the cancer divide
Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile

“…[T]his Lancet Series focused on women’s cancers … exposes the striking reality of a cancer divide that jeopardizes women’s lives and wellbeing around the globe. It also situates cancer as an issue that has not received as much attention as other women’s diseases or conditions, highlighting it as a growing public health and social concern that needs to be prioritized by all stakeholders. These messages are particularly important for women in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) who are currently being left behind … To move forward … particularly around efforts directed to control women’s cancer effectively and equitably, we should start by empowering women in societies. Increasing women’s participation in power across different arenas will facilitate policy and progress. We need to overthrow the difficult and persistent barriers so that women of tomorrow can live without the burden of inequality and discrimination we currently experience, especially in health. In this context, we must bridge and enhance evidence, policy, and action to create the environments women need to live a healthy life, to innovate in cancer prevention and treatment, and to provide universal coverage for strong health systems, all to make our planet a better world both for men and women and the future of humanity, our children” (2/25).

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TB Persists Due To Lack Of Political Will, Commercial Innovation

Project Syndicate: Why Tuberculosis Persists
Michael Fairbanks, fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University and chair of the Board of Silver Creek Medicines

“…There are three reasons why TB persists: political leaders do not understand the sociology behind it, scientists lack an effective paradigm to attack it, and the rich and famous no longer die from it. … TB once affected every stratum of society, but it now afflicts the most vulnerable populations. … The incidence of drug-resistant TB is on the rise, because the health care systems of poor countries lack the resources to screen for TB and to help patients comply with their therapies. … Political leaders have failed to understand the sociological factors behind TB. … TB afflicts many people who do not vote, such as refugees, prisoners, and the destitute. … Discrimination, stigma, and isolation are not just pernicious features of weak societies; they foster conditions that facilitate TB infections and increase the rate of diffusion. … Unfortunately, commercial innovation is slow to respond to TB. … Some of the most profitable and powerful pharmaceutical companies in the world … have left that ‘market’ behind. … North Americans and Europeans need to … see the end of TB as a challenge to our collective humanity…” (2/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Examines Cooperation Among Global Fund, U.S. Bilateral Global Health Programs

Friends of the Global Fight: The Global Fund and U.S. bilateral programs: Partnerships with lifesaving impact
This blog post examines the cooperative efforts among the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and U.S. bilateral programs, including PEPFAR, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) TB program. “The Global Fund and U.S. bilateral programs are interconnected, collaborating on a daily basis to align program investments, resolve implementation bottlenecks, and streamline co-investment to maximize efficiency and impact. These collaborative efforts to align resources and create synergies have allowed for dramatic scale up of innovative programs and saved millions of lives…” (2/23).

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As Rockefeller Foundation President, Shah Can Have 'Profound Impact' On Global Food Security, Expert Says

Agri-Pulse: Opinion: Shah to lead Rockefeller Foundation: Implications for global food security
Marshall Matz, who specializes in agriculture at OFW Law in Washington, D.C., and was founding chair of the Board of the World Food Program, USA, discusses Dr. Raj Shah’s new position as president of the Rockefeller Foundation, writing, “Dr. Shah is the former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. He will no doubt continue to build upon the foundation’s leadership in agriculture and food security. … Given Shah’s history at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and his reputation around the world, Shah can be expected to have a profound impact on the drive toward global food security…” (2/22).

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